The Raindance Film Festival runs each October and in 2002 celebrated its tenth anniversary.
Packed with feature films, short films, special events, seminars and parties, it brings together film fans, filmmakers and international film executives with a common passion for the very best in independent cinema, writes John Tobin. The festival specialises in first-time directors, with around 70% of the features being debut films. As well as providing a platform for breakthrough British work, the festival has premiered and showcased films as diverse as ?The Blair Witch Project?, ?Pulp Fiction?, ?No Man?s Land? and ?Memento?.

Following the success of the festival, Raindance East was launched in 2001 and returns in March 2003 as a partnership with London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Lee Valley Regional Park. A celebration of local and international film in the heart of the East End, the festival will promote cross-cultural exchange by screening both east London films and the best of world cinema in one of the most culturally diverse areas in London. Also as part of Raindance East, Raindance Kids screens films from children from around the world, with more than 100 children from 7 to 16 creating documentaries, animations and dramas in fun-packed workshops.

Since 1993 the festival has also been devoted to providing film courses, led by working professionals and guest tutors such as Mike Figgis. In the past 12 months over 2,500 filmmakers have attended the courses. Other ventures and partnerships address the emerging needs of filmmakers, including Raindance Raw Talent, a film development and production initiative. So, a filmmaker can learn essential skills on our courses, develop and produce a film with Raw Talent, screen it at our festivals and go on to win a British Independent Film Award!

The British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) are a key date in the film industry diary: a great party, the chance for the who?s who in film to celebrate the UK industry and most importantly, with widespread media coverage both nationally and inter-nationally, an invaluable means of promoting British films at home and across the globe.

The organisation is 90% self-funded, but partners contribute to and benefit from being involved with Raindance events, such as Park Caledonia?s highly successful headline sponsorship of the 2002 British Independent Film Awards. The festival is also well supported by its friends in the film community, with established industry players generously giving their time to help and attend Raindance?s events.

Grass roots marketing, with direct mailing and viral email, coupled with the publicity created by Idea Generation and a website which includes the film festival catalogue, has proved more effective than traditional media campaigns. This has created a strong, dedicated following from people who, in turn, have generated excellent word of mouth.

John Tobin is Festival Producer of the Raindance Film Festival. t: 020 7287 3833;
e: info@raindance.co.uk; w: http://www.raindance.co.uk